A conditioned answer is not always a true one. For example, someone may see you in the store and greet you with, "Hi, how are you?" Usually the expected and given response is, "Fine, thanks. How are you?" With each expected greeting and salutation, people are forced to lie about how they may really feel. From birth, we are told not to cry, be angry or frustrated but to smile, say "please," "thank you," and "hi, how are you." Manners. They have the potential of being the polite poison that leads a person into despair or depression. They are the accomplice to masks and destroyer of opportunities for empathy, sympathy, a caring or loving touch.
The Bible teaches that we are in the world not of it. We are taught to be truthful; meaning don't lie. As believers we are supposed to be the most real, transparent people on the planet. But as long as everyone is "fine, thanks," we have little opportunity to "be" love. We have got to get off the script and be completely real with those who do not know Christ and those who do. Those who do not know Christ will bear witness to the fruit of joy and peace when (by the world's standards) we should not have it. Those who do know Christ can partner with us in prayer, encourage us to press on and cheer for us when we make it through the storms and trials of life.
The challenge for the day is to be honest or allow someone to be honest with you. Our cues can no longer come from the curtains of society. They need to come from Christ. We are on the stage called the world. Every line we deliver should be dripping with the wisdom of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit and backed by His word. Manners are nice, but being meaningful is powerful.